Blues fans falling for emerging talent McEachran
Assistant coach Ray Wilkins believes Chelsea fans have already warmed to teenage midfielder Josh McEachran.
The 17-year-old McEachran, a product of the Blues' youth system, only made his competitive debut for the club last month when he was a substitute in the 4-1 Champions League win away to Slovakian side Zilina.
But Wilkins believes the rookie, who has made three Premier League appearances since, has already shown enough to convince the Chelsea fans he is a player for the future.
"It is lovely for everyone when a home-grown guy comes through," Wilkins said.
"That has been the case with all the young lads who have come on this season and last season. The crowds have taken to them straight away.
"There seems to be an affiliation with the supporter that is lovely to watch."
It has been a breakthrough year for the Oxford-born teenager who also helped England U17s win the European Championship before earning an U19 call-up.
Wilkins has been impressed at how McEachran has taken it in his stride, after himself treading the same path at Stamford Bridge before making his Blues debut almost 37 years ago.
"It is an exciting time, coming on to make your debut," Wilkins added.
"It is not the right word to say I sympathise with Josh but I can remember that nervous situation you go through when you come on.
"I get thrilled for him and thankfully he does not appear to show too many nerves."
Star midfielder Frank Lampard's recovery from injury has afforded McEachran his chance in the first team, although he is likely to continue his Premier League education from the substitutes' bench at Blackburn this weekend.
The Blues were beaten 1-0 on their previous trip to the north west last month, when Manchester City inflicted their only defeat of the league campaign so far.
And, although they have recovered with tough 2-0 home wins over Arsenal and Wolves, which have sandwiched an away draw at Villa, the early goals that saw them impressively race clear at the start of the season have dried up.
The Blues have managed just four in their past four Premier League games and Carlo Ancelotti's side will expect a tough trip to Ewood Park after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Rovers last season.